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Imp 3: Magus

An ancient blend, swollen with arcane power: galangal, high john essence, frankincense, cedar, and sandalwood.

When I opened the imp this morning, it didn't give me the resistance the others put up, and out popped what I thought was the vibrant smell of cocoa bean. Dark chocolate! I thought immediately. I hate wearing foody smells. You eat edbile things and you wear... wearable things! I don't cross the lines. But I needn't have worried because my mind was probably just playing tricks with the cedar and frankincense, making the combination fool me into wanting chocolate. This, again may have something to do with my crazy hormones. At any rate, the greeny galangal only ran as an undercurrent as this scent dried out such that I smell like the inside of a cedar chest, not a bad smell but a little... aged for my tastes. Many reviewers on the forums used the word "sawdust" in their posts and that's a perfect word for it. I can imagine myself using this on days when I want to feel the entitlement of the crone. I hope to find something like it, but fresher, instead though. P.S. What the hell is a high john, and what do you have to do to get his essence? ;)

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
peregrin8
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
it must be High John the Conqueror root. I didn't know that was supposed to be fragrant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_John_the_Conqueror
maroonmd
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
It's not. O_o

Snidegrrl: Check out the Crystal Fox on Main Street. It's probably the closest thing to you that sells herbs and essence oils.
snidegrrl
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
I go there lots! :) That's where I was having african dumming lessons for a while. There's also one near my work in Annapolis now, but I haven't been down there... too afraid I'll spend cash I shouldn't.
peregrin8
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
maroonmd
Mar. 9th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
I sure. I have the root and a bottle of oil on my shelf. I mean, everything has a smell I suppose, but there's nothing to set this one aside from other roots... it smells like the ground or wood. A lot of oils that are made from it's essence have other things added to it so it smells better... the frankincense is probably the most powerful smell, in this case.

Hopefully they were smart enough not to put too much high-john in the perfume, because it works as a powerful laxative (though perhaps it wouldn't work so well through absorption). It's supposed to draw luck and power, and absorb-away negative energy.
peregrin8
Mar. 9th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
oh, I thought you were saying there was some other herb called "high john." I was replying to the p.s.
maroonmd
Mar. 9th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
ohhhh! I was saying "it's not" supposed to be fragrant. heehee
mountainwitch
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this link! When I teach Frederick Douglass' autobiography in Amerilit classes, students always ask about a "root" that Douglass is given by another slave. Supposedly the root will keep Douglass from being beaten by his master again. Students are always asking what this root is supposed to be and why it would work; I'm betting this is it.
peregrin8
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a good bet. What an interesting story!
ninjacooter
Mar. 9th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC)
http://www.luckymojo.com/johntheconqueror.html

High John the Conqueror root is one of the staples of African-American folk magic. Its use in mojo hands is as ubiquitous as its qualities are varied, and its very name signifies power and prosperity to many.

Who was John the Conqueror and what is the root named after him? Ethnographers, especially those influenced by Zora Neale Hurston, say that he was a black slave whose life -- perhaps a real life that was embellished in the telling, perhaps a fictional life entirely imagined -- was an inspiration to slaves who wanted to rebel against their masters but could not do so openly. John, said to be the son of an African king, was in captivity, but he never became subservient, and his cleverness at tricking his master supplied many a story with a pointed moral. If he was a real being, he soon acquired some of the characteristics of mythical trickster figures like the Native American Coyote, the African-American Bre'r Rabbit, and the West African deity known variously as Elegua, Legba, and Eshu. He gave -- only to take away. He bet -- and never lost. He played dumb -- but he was never outsmarted. The reputation of High John is so great that, as recorded by the folklorist Harry Middleton Hyatt in the 1930s, just reciting the words "John over John" and "John the Conqueror" is a powerful spell of magical protection against being hoodooed.
mountainwitch
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
Even more details! :)
I'd heard of the character before--I think I read the Virginia Hamilton book Wikipedia mentioned--but not of the root. This is great stuff. Thanks!
ninjacooter
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Even more details! :)
No problem! :) Cat Yronwode is very well versed in hoodoo history, and is just plain swell.
snidegrrl
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
Perhaps its function isn't to be fragrant but to have some chemical effect on the other scents, or perhaps they mean it to be a purely magical type thing. *shrug*
peregrin8
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
Actually wikipedia (if I had read more carefully to start with) says it has "a pleasant, earthy odor"... sounds like it would blend nicely with those other herbs.

(Now I really want a chocolate perfume, though. I bet THAT would bring all the boys to the yard...)
snidegrrl
Mar. 9th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
Hrm... it's a root... are they sure that pleasant earthy odor isn't just the dirt still clinging? ^_^

(I so can't even begin to comment!!)
peregrin8
Mar. 9th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
hee hee! Then it's probably also high in vitamin B-12. (I read somewhere that the reason modern vegan diets are short on B-12 is that our root vegetables are "too clean.")
dreamingjune
Mar. 9th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
Try Anne Bonny if you want a more feminine sandalwood that still has some bite. And you absolutely must try Morocco. Dee and Coyote are also wonderful blends. No citrus or foody notes, and the incense isn't overwhelming.
snidegrrl
Mar. 10th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip. :) I will count those in on my next imp order...
salami_salome
Mar. 9th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
For me, cedar is hard to wear without smelling a little bit like a hamster cage.
snidegrrl
Mar. 10th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Not a few reviewers brought up the dread hamster cage.

As an after note, By the end of my workday this smelled just heavenly. Everything evened out. Too bad it took about 9 hours to happen.
tzel
Mar. 10th, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)
Cedar=Puppies to me, so I like the scent.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )